First of all, I would like to thank the Clarion for running the article (July 26) about Erin Rome, who recently won the title and honor of being selected as "International Youth Leader of the Year." Her friends, family and co-workers at the Boys and Girls Club were jubilant when the news arrived.
She was in competition with young adult bowlers throughout the United States and Canada. When the selection process was narrowed down to the top boy and top girl, Erin Rome of Kenai was selected to sit on the United States Bowling Congress Board of Directors. What a source of pride this was for the almost 1,000 registered bowlers on the peninsula and thousands of men, women and youth bowlers throughout the state.
The local men's bowling association has awarded nearly $50,000 in scholarships to youth bowlers in just the last two years. Kids from 5 to 21 have won these scholarships.
Last year, the Kenai Peninsula YABA Bowling coach asked the paper to come and cover our awards ceremony and scholarship presentation. Sadly, no one bothered to come. Shortly after the ceremony, we paid to have the paper print a picture with the kids holding their scholarship certificates and also thanked all the businesses and individuals who have contributed to the program.
None of our peninsula bowlers make the headlines for being arrested for drugs, but on the same day as the small article appeared about Erin Rome, one page before hers a giant headline reads "Anchorage teen racks up charges." I say, when I see a headline like that, "I wish he could have been in a bowling program." I know, stories about good kids don't sell papers.
So, I would like to say to all you young people out there who join group sports or civic programs (whether it be baseball, hockey, soccer, bowling, Young Marines, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or chess clubs) I am so proud of you today and always. Keep it up!
I'd also like to thank the adults who have volunteered for years working with the good kids. People like Rich Edwards, Randy Kornfield, Ken Liedes, Sharon Hale, Cheryl Conte, Victoria Askin, Paula Morrison and countless others. Thank you so very much.
Patty Rome, 1990-2003 YABA Coach
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